Postgraduate Profiles

Felix Mackenzie-Rae

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Thesis: a-phellandrene - indoor smog chamber measurements and modelling

One class of compounds known to play an important role in the chemistry of the troposphere are monoterpenes (C10H16), with studies showing them to have high global emission rates, high chemical reactivity and to be important precursors to atmospheric pollutants including ozone and particulates. My project details the first systematic study into a-phellandrene, a monoterpene primarily emitted by eucalyptus trees. Using a smog chamber at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, ozonolysis and photooxidation experiments will be carried out to characterise the atmospheric degradation of a-phellandrene, with particular focus on quantifying gas and particle phase species. Experimental data in complement with a theoretical investigation will then be used to develop a detailed chemical mechanism consistent with the Master Chemical Mechanism protocol.

Why my research is important

The chemistry of the troposphere underlies a range of environmental issues having significant social and economic impacts – from a changing climate, to a reduction in air quality and degradation of ecosystems. In fact the World Health Organisation recently announced that air pollution has become the world’s single largest environmental health risk. To understand and hence mitigate these complex issues, it is essential that we investigate the plethora of chemical reactions taking place in the atmosphere and accurately convey the information in computer models/simulations.


Feb 2014

Feb 2017